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The conflicts within Clarice first amuse him, but he gets caught up in his own game as the novel progresses and we find him expecting her visit and even organizing his agenda around it.
He knows Lecter has a weak spot for innocence, so he figures the strong-headed country girl type will work a number on him.
Turns out he was right and Starling and Lecter establish a bond that goes way beyond what he's expected.
After several movie viewing and one novel read, it's evident that he knows the specifics and the drama is mainly engineered by him, for his own entertainment.
It gives you some perspective on Thomas Harris' storytelling skills.
There is one focal point around which a whole universe revolves.
If you've seen Jonathan Demme's movie adaptation of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, you will get most of what I'm talking about here.He understands who they are and what they want from each other, so therefore nothing is made explicit to his reader.The relationship between Lecter and Starling slowly sinks its hooks into you and will leave you thinking long after you're done reading.In this regard, he's almost like an author double, who plays "evil god" towards the other characters.It's something that gets gradually more evident as you get to know the story more intimately.Therefore, reading THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS may feel a little underwhelming compared to RED DRAGON.At least, it was the case for me, but the character development for Hannibal Lecter and the deep, complicated bond he establishes with Clarice Starling was enough to keep me on the page for long sitting, sometimes over a hundred pages at the time.Serial killer stories have become tired and cliché, but it's not Hannibal Lecter's fault.The murderous psychiatrist still stands today as one of the most complex and layered characters in suspense fiction.I have all sorts of special memories tied to my first viewing of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.I was maybe eleven, twelve years old and it was THE big, bad movie that gave nightmares to kids my age.